Edivaldo José BORTOLETO é graduado em filosofia pela PUC de Campinas; é mestre em filosofia da educação pela Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba; é doutor em comunicação e semiótica pela PUC de São Paulo; é doutor em educação pela Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba. É professor/pesquisador do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Educação da Universidade Comunitária da Região de Chapecó – UNOCHAPECÓ – Santa Catarina – Brasil.
Ecos do Simpósio Thomas Merton em Roma
A voz de um brasileiro, o Professor Dr. Edivaldo José Bortoleto, ecoou na cidade eterna de Roma durante o Simpósio Thomas Merton. Com o tema “Profecia e Renovação”, o evento foi organizado numa parceria entre a Associação Thomas Merton Itália e o Instituto Monástico e a Faculdade de Teologia da Universidade Santo Anselmo entre os dias 12 e 15 de junho de 2018.
O Simpósio contou com a presença de experts em Thomas Merton e nomes importantes do mundo monástico:
Dom Gregory Polan, OSB – Abade Primaz da Conferência Beneditina;
Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, O.Cist – Abade Geral da Ordem Cisterciense;
Dom Stefano Visintin, OSB – Reitor do Ateneo Sant’Anselmo;
Maurizio Renzini – Presidente da Associazione Thomas Merton Italia;
Paul M. Pearson – Secretário Geral e arquivista da ITMS
Jonathan Montaldo – Autor e Ex-diretor do Thomas Merton Center
Um total de 27 palestrantes dividiram o púlpito, compartilhando novos olhares da ótica mertoniana e o resultado dos estudos em seus países de origem: Austrália, Bélgica, Brasil, Canadá, Coreia do Sul, Espanha, EUA, Holanda, Irlanda, Itália e Polônia.
Ao fim do Simpósio, um Tour por 3 igrejas romanas, visitadas por Merton em 1933 (Santa Sabina, São Cosme e Damião e São Clemente), selaram os dias de convívio que espalharam as sementes do profetismo e da renovação lançadas por Thomas Merton há 50 anos atrás.
Abaixo, colamos o abstracts do trabalho apresentado no evento por nosso Prof. Edivaldo Bortoleto, bem como as dos demais palestrantes.
Thomas Merton e Edith Stein e a Estética barroca latino americana caribenha
Ouça o áudio da apresentação a partir do minuto 30
O trabalho tem por objetivo inaugurar uma aproximação entre Thomas Merton e Edith Stein no sentido de estabelecer um diálogo da mística na América Latina com o Pensamento Latino Americano. Tanto Merton quanto Stein têm uma penetração na America Latina de maneiras diferentes.
Ambos se movem no campo da Escolástica e estabelecem um diálogo com a Mística Barroca Hispânica do século XVI - Santa Teresa D’Ávila e São João da Cruz. A obra de Merton Ascensão para a Verdade é uma obra que tem Jacques Maritain e João da Cruz como fundamentos. A obra Ser Finito e Ser Eterno - bem como a Ciência da Cruz - de Stein tem a Fenomenologia, Escolástica e a Mística de Barroca Hispânica.
Ambos são recepcionados no contexto da América Latina Caribenha. Merton e Edith são subsumidos por distintos grupos na América Latina Caribenha. Merton está mais próximo, da tradição de pensamento formulada por Alceu Amoroso Lima, uma vez que ambos se conheceram, e Merton entra no Brasil via Alceu Amoroso Lima. Mas, Merton entra também pelo lado de sua literatura e poesia e de seu diálogo com o poeta Manoel Bandeira.
O pensamento de ambos, no Campo da Mística, está em consonância com questões e temáticas do movimento liberacionista na América Latina Caribenha, principalmente, ao tema da visão antropológica semita. Em Otávio Paz com O Labirinto da Solidão, que põe o tema da solidão, e com Enrique Dussel em sua Ética com os temas da compaixão e da comiseração, se encontram pontos de diálogo tanto em Merton quanto em Stein, pois em ambos, o veio estético barroco constitui-se nas marcas signicas da América Latina Caribenha.
ARCEMENT Ephrem OSB, a monk of Saint Joseph Abbey in Louisiana, U.S.A., currently serves as vocation director, choirmaster, librarian and professor of theology at Saint Joseph Seminary College. He holds a Ph.D. in spirituality from The Catholic University of America. In 2015 he published In the School of Prophets: The Formation of Thomas Merton’s Prophetic Spirituality with Cistercian Publications in their Cistercian Studies Series.
Monasticism in Search of Its Heart: Thomas Merton’s Vision of a Renewed Monasticism
Knowing what lies at the heart of monasticism is knowledge of what gives monasticism its identity and helps determine its trajectory, regardless of the given historical circumstance in which monasticism may find itself. Monasticism’s health and development fully depend upon a clear delineation of its core identity markers—the integrity of each and how they relate to one another. In Thomas Merton’s writings on monastic renewal, three dimensions of monasticism stand out as preeminent. The future of monasticism, for Merton, will depend upon a serious examination, sometimes reinterpretation, and, finally, implementation of each of these dimensions. These three dimensions are the charismatic dimension, the contemplative dimension, and the prophetic dimension. The charismatic dimension places emphasis on monasticism’s direct dependence on the Holy Spirit rather than on an unhealthy dependence on institutional structures. This offers the monastic authentic freedom and a quality of life that manifests itself in the fruits of the Spirit. It also guards the monastic from settling into a manufactured existence in the monastery. The paradigm for this charismatic dimension, for Merton, was the monasticism of the Egyptian desert. The contemplative dimension offers monasticism the atmosphere necessary for life in the Spirit. Without solitude and silence, the monastic, in Merton’s view, is sidetracked from his or her chief goal of seeking God and discovering one’s true self in the discovery of the heart of God. Merton insisted that contemplation is a term that must be reinterpreted in order to set monasticism on a healthier and more Christian foundation. Rather than “viewing” and “tasting” God in the isolation of an abstraction, contemplation must be understood as an event and an encounter of the anguish of the world in the heart of the monastic with the all-sufficient love of God who enters this anguish in the cross of Christ. Rooting the contemplative dimension in love, not as a good in itself but as a force that breaks through into the world with mercy and justice, allows monasticism to realize its prophetic potential. The prophetic dimension flows from the radical fidelity to live the monastic vows. It is the natural overflow of a life fully committed to the charismatic and contemplative dimensions and manifests itself in a particular quality—one that glows with the fiery love of God. It is a life of intense presence where wisdom speaks truth and clarity in a world increasingly given to distortion and confusion. The death of the self in the charismatic solitude of the desert gives birth to a unique power that combines spiritual insight, freedom to love, and an eschatological revelation of what is possible in this life.
BARRERA-AGARWALl Maria Helena is a writer and translator. She has authored eight books of essays, among which is Merton y Ecuador, la busqueda del pais secreto (PUCE, 2010).
The Grace of Mauna: Silence in the Thought of Thomas Merton and Ramana Maharshi
In one of his letters to Aleksei Surkov, Thomas Merton affirms, “Silence . . . is genuine truth and the source of truth.” Few writers have explored the subject in a more persistent or meaningful way. For Merton, silence is not merely a challenge to be contended with as part of his monastic journey. It is the very essence of the spiritual practice, the crux of the quest for oneness with God.
Another great mystic of the twentieth century, Sri Ramana Maharshi of the Hindu advaita tradition, also dwelt in the depths of silence. Sri Ramana was known as a teacher who provided darshan by way of silence. Occasionally, he gave answers to the questions posed by seekers who visited his ashram. In one of his recorded thoughts, he said, “What exists in truth is the Self alone. The Self is that where there is absolutely no ‘I’ thought. That is called Silence.”
Merton never met Sri Ramana. He did read and reviewed The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, a book edited after the death of Sri Ramana by one of his followers, Arthur Osborne. Beyond that review and a few references, there would seem to be little external similarity between them. From an internal point of view, however, their thinking is profoundly consonant, particularly on the subject of silence. This paper will explore such consonance, with an emphasis on the lessons that the world, as it is experienced in our time, can draw from it.
BROMBIN Alessia is a second year Ph.D. student at the theological faculty of Triveneto (Padua – Italy). Her research focuses on ecumenism and Orthodox spirituality, especially hesychasm and the theology of Palamas. She earned a master of divinity degree (MDiv) in spiritual theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) in 2015. In 2009 she earned a bachelor of divinity degree (BD) from the Istituto Teologico S. Antonio Dottore (Padua) (thesis director: Tiziano Lorenzin ofm conv). She received a master’s degree in 2003 from the department of the history of philosophy at the University of Padua, where she wrote her thesis on philosophical counseling (thesis director: Enrico Berti). She lives at the Camaldolese monastery in Rome as a postulant.
Hesychasm according to Thomas Merton: A Way to Re-discover Genuine Spiritual Renewal Through the Inner Discipline of the Heart
My basic concern in this intervention is to determine the degree to which the spirituality of the Oriental Fathers made its way into the contemplative practice of T. Merton. The author‘s express declaration of his debt to hysychasm allows us to trace this heritage throughout his experience of spiritual renewal. In the course of my research I made use of some selected texts (The Wisdom of the Desert; Cassian and the Fathers: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition; Contemplative Prayer; What Is Contemplation?; Spiritual Direction and Meditation; Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation) as I reviewed the personal experience of the author by sifting through its various strands to reach the core of his contemplative experience.
Merton notes that the task of every human being is to rediscover one’s own inner discipline of the heart. The goal is to find a personal path to union with God. For this to happen, it will be necessary to make use of the particular practice known as the “prayer of the heart.” The hesychast writings decode this prayer. What we need to discover is the interpretation that was specific to Merton. In fact, Merton coined a personal definition that was inclusive of contemplative experience, understood not as the prerogative of the monastic communities alone, but open to all those who in the world give witness to their adherence to the Word by authentically living it through their every action and making it the paradigm of their way of life.
Keywords: Hesychasm, prayer of Jesus, fathers of the desert, contemplation, prayer of the heart.
ELLIS Peter comes from the UK. Formerly a research fellow in archaeology at Birmingham University, he lives now in Bath and is currently exploring new archaeological approaches to British prehistory using phenomenological perspectives.
Married to the Silence of the Forest: Merton’s Prophetic Life in the Gethsemani Woods
This paper is based on the idea that the trajectory of Merton’s life was itself a prophetic message. His adult journey from the bars of New York, through Gethsemani, and out into the woods was a journey of spatial reconnection – bringing the human together with the world of beings and things on equal terms. His life in the hermitage enacts for us today a new contact with our physical environments in which the modern centrally situated consciousness falls back into a less prominent role. Merton’s life was also a journey in time, going backwards from the present into the past, searching to reshape and renew the present. His was the sort of reverse journey that becomes more attractive the more human progress appears to be a dead end closed by the possibility of planetary disaster. The arc of Merton’s life can be viewed as a prophetic foreshadowing of the present turn to emphasising affect rather than intellect, past ways of human living rather than modern western ones, being at one with non-human animals rather than at odds with them, and exploring the more fluid possibilities resulting for the self. The paper will explore some of the themes raised in Merton’s writings in the hermitage and the different ways that he felt he was being changed.
FAYLE OFM Vaughn Jérôme, a South African-born Franciscan, has been an active presenter at the Chicago chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society from 2000 to 2012 and was awarded the International Thomas Merton Shannon Scholarship in 2007 for his research into and presentations of Merton’s poetry as set to music. A classically trained musician and philosopher, he is currently assistant professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome.
The Stubborn Portrayal of the Swischenzeiten in Thomas Merton’s Poetry: The Eight Freedom Songs.
One of the key aspects of Thomas Merton’s poetry towards the end of his life is the struggle that is found within any prophetic vision. It is evidenced in the metaphors for the irony, anger, stubbornness, and frustration that poets portray within themselves and within society at large. Poets and artists often experience this frustration most profoundly as they attempt to evoke the spirit of the Swischenzeiten, “the yet and the not-yet,” in society and within their own spiritual renewal. Merton’s Eight Freedom Songs, offer us an essential view of the necessary impatience that any prophetic reformer and poet must confront. This presentation focuses of the theological tropes of stubborn renewal and reform in his Eight Freedom Songs poetry. By focusing on Merton’s vivid metaphorical references to the “misuse of the world’s resources in the diamonds stolen from the mines in South Africa.” the “discordant and shrill call” of the Hebrew Testament Prophets such as Jonah and Isaiah, to the “bloated behaviour” of affluent countries and multi-national companies with their “fat cigars,” I outline his prophetically stubborn frustration and argue in favour of its critical relevance for our world today. I suggest that in many ways Merton’s language was radically prescient, transcending the call for a quietist conversion in his early poems. Finally, I suggest that in answering the question, What irritated Merton while writing the Eight Freedom Songs?, we also get a glimpse into our own eschatological solution to tensions within the Swischenzeiten.
FUCHS Dr. Reiner, born 1961, married, two grown up sons. I have worked as a pastoral agent in hospital pastoral care for more than twenty years in a clinic for psychosomatic medicine in Bad Grönenbach in the diocese of Augsburg/Germany. The main focus of the clinic is on addiction aftercare treatment. In my work with patients, I have frequently made use of Merton’s texts on le point vierge. In addition, I have engaged in scholarly theological and pastoral reflection on my pastoral practice for my doctoral thesis in dogmatic theology at the University of Salzburg/Austria. I completed my thesis in 2017. My interest in the writings of Thomas Merton with regard to contemplation and non-violence began during my theological studies more than 30 years ago.
„Le point vierge” – The Heterotopos of Contemplation in Pastoral Work in Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a pressing sign of the times in contemporary pluralistic societies. In searching for renewal their living, addicted people are confronted with the power of addiction and their own powerlessness. In context of post secularity, the churches are faced with the question, which contribution to recovery may bring the Christian tradition. Pastoral work has to positioning itself in the polylog of the secular bio-psycho-social field of treatment. It is asked for the secular meaning of the gospel for humanization of man in face of the deadly grasp of addiction.
In Christian contemplative tradition, Merton’s discussion of the term ‘le point vierge’ may be read as a prophetical contribution in answering this question. He encourages to position oneself at the topos of secular powerlessness, because at the same moment, it becomes the place where the creative power of God reveals. The heterotopos ‘le point vierge’ is an act of transgressing the well known modern spatial assignment of secularity and sacrality. It functions according to the chalcedonian grammar of unconfused and undivisible. In this difference lives this creative power, which is never at our disposal, but which comes to us, to renewal our life.
GALLONI Marco, nato a Roma nel 1959, svolge la professione di giornalista dal 1989. Collabora o ha collaborato con Adista, Vatican Insider (La Stampa), Teilhard aujourd’hui, Il Sole/24 Ore e altre testate. Da diversi anni studia filosofia e teologia alla Pontificia Università Gregoriana.
Thomas Merton’s Love for Existentialism
In Mystics and Zen Masters, first published in 1961, Thomas Merton makes a passionate defense of existentialism: “We can now safely admit the existence of a Christian existentialism active not only in philosophy but also in renewed Biblical theology, which has been so eloquent and so salutary in the years Vatican II.” Yet, in the same work, Merton also admits that “the existentialism of the forties and fifties was dangerous to Catholicism in many ways.” When Mystics and Zen Masters was given to the press, existentialism still aroused distrust among Catholics: “To suggest that Karl Rahner, for instance, might be tinged with ‘existentialism’ (he is in to some extent a disciple of Heidegger) would in some circles be quite enough circles to convict him of being nothing more than a Catholic Sartre,” writes Merton.
Existentialism as an experience
How is it possible, then, that a similar interest in existentialism arises in the mind of a religious belonging to one of the most severe and rigorous monastic orders of Catholicism? To understand this, is first of all necessary to try to define existentialism. According to Merton, “Existentialism is an experience and an attitude, rather than a system of thought. As soon as it begins to present itself as a system, it denies and destroys itself. . . . genuine existentialism is, like Zen Buddhism and like apophatic Christian mysticism, hidden in life itself. It cannot be distilled out in verbal formulas. Above all, the journalistic clichés about existentialist nihilism, pessimism, anarchism, and so on, are totally irrelevant, even though they may have some foundation in certain existentialist writings.” What Merton affirms about the existentialism that destroys itself when it pretends to act as a system of thought is not only valid for the atheistic existentialism of Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus. It is also true of the theistic and Christian existentialism of Karl Jaspers, the Jewish existentialism of Martin Buber, the orthodox and Gnostic existentialism of Berdyaev, the Buddhist existentialism of Suzuki and Nishida, the Protestant existentialism of Bultmann and Tillich, and the Catholic existentialism of Gabriel Marcel and Louis Lavelle. All these believers, belonging to the most diverse confessions, spoke about life, not about systems of thought. (Just think of the Ich und Du of Buber).
The intrinsically religious character of existentialism
Coming back for a moment to atheist existentialism, it must be added that it already denied itself etymologically. The term comes from the Latin “ex-(s)isto”, which means “to come out,” “to appear,” “to show yourself,” “to present yourself” and necessarily implies a motion from place, an origin from which ( “ex”) something comes out. Now, since atheistic existentialism denies that there is a God from which existence exists, in fact it contradicts itself, or at least abuses of the term “existence.” Merton underlines this by quoting the philosopher Frederick H. Heinemann, who says, “Existentialism understood as a philosophical system constituted a contradiction in terms and was therefore dead even before beginning to live.” Properly speaking, therefore, existentialism can only have a religious character. To put it in Merton’s words, “. . . even non-religious existentialism is unconsciously oriented towards a religious vision of life.” And again, “Even those [existentialists] who make no religious claims are, like Heidegger, spontaneously oriented towards a religious view of man’s destiny.”
Man, a being suffering from an ontological lack
Even the explicitly atheist existentialism of Sartre can be read in a religious key. Sartre is right in saying that man is an entity in which existence precedes essence. For him, first the man exists, but only later, through his efforts, his choices, and his commitment to world, can he become fully himself. Between the existence and the essence of man, in other words, there is a phase shift, a phase delay. Even for Christian existentialism, and for Christianity in general, man “does exist but is not being”, in the sense that, because of sin, he is suffering from a lack of being, from a certain ontological inadequacy. For Christian existentialism, however, unlike the atheist existentialism of Sartre, man does not have to try to become himself through his superhuman efforts: he becomes himself by grace, a grace that is gift and gratuitousness, but which nevertheless requires man’s response, his willingness to engage in a profound relationship with God.
From the imprisonment of the Ego to the freedom of our authentic Self
Our authentic Self can only emerge through this relationship with God: “. . . it is only in the obedience of faith that we truly discover our authenic existence, our true selves,” says Merton. This true Self has nothing to do with either the individual Ego, the false personality that everyone tends to build during life, or with the collective Ego, the mass personality that Thomas Merton has so often criticized in his works and that roughly coincides with the Heideggerian “Dasein”, the “thrownness” (“Geworfenheit”), the impersonal existence of those who are tossed like dice into a world of objects. Existentialism – and in particular Christian existentialism – wants to free us from such false personalities in order to give us our true Self, in which existence and essence are finally in phase and in which there is, as Merton writes, “the perfect and total reconciliation, in Christ, with one’s true self, one’s neighbor, and with God.”
GARDNER Fiona previously worked as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and is now a spiritual director and writer. Her latest book is The Only Mind Worth Having, Thomas Merton and the Child Mind. She is the former chair of TMSGBI and was also editor of The Merton Journal. She was awarded “the Louie” by ITMS in 2015.
Thomas Merton: “Accessible Exemplar” of the New Mysticism
The paper will explore Merton’s embrace of the actual inner experience of God that includes aspects of, and, can be distinguished from, the medieval Christian model taught to Merton as a novice. It is also different from, although influenced by, traditional Eastern mysticism and by depth psychology.
The discussion focuses on Merton’s experiences on the Mim Tree Estate and his use of the mountain Kanchenjunga as a symbol of the idea of the coincidence of opposites. This idea, found in the philosophy of the Christian theologian Nicholas of Cusa and later in St. Bonaventure and Meister Eckhart, is also present in other mystical traditions including Vedanta, Taoism, Kabbalah, Sufism, and Buddhist thought. It is one characteristic of mystical experience that confirms the experience of living “as a unified human person.”
I first look in depth at what happened on that retreat, and I then make observations about the language used, the idea of paradox and ambiguity, and the effect that Merton’s words have on the reader. I suggest that the way Merton renews old truths through his contemporary voice makes him an accessible exemplar of the new mysticism.
HERRON Dr. Fred W. is a member of the department of theology and religious studies at St. John’s University, New York ,and has served as the executive director at Mount Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in New York City and Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, New York. He is the author of a number of books regarding Catholic education and spirituality including No Abiding Place: Thomas Merton and the Search for God (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2005)
Thomas Merton and the Emerging Catholic Paradigm
Thomas Merton’s life was “one of those events that . . . as in a flash of lightning, illuminate a whole landscape, throwing even the obscurest features into a sharp and dramatic relief.” He looked critically at a Church he believed had “slipped its moorings and (was) now floating off in mid ocean a thousand miles from the facts. But within that boat everything is logical, all right, and in apple pie order.” Standing in contrast to a Church that was increasingly out of touch and defensive in its relationship with the world, Merton stood with one foot deeply rooted in the culture of the modern world and another deeply critical of it. His embrace of the world in profound love led him to make connections with so many in such a variety of ways. He embraced Shakespeare’s challenge to meet the world with “a wild dedication of yourselves to unpath’d waters, undreamed shores. . . .”
Highlighting key insights from the work of Gregory Baum, Elizabeth Johnson, Bernard Lonergan, and Karl Rahner, this paper will argue that Merton described and embodied an emerging paradigm shift in Catholic thinking characterized by seven key elements:
- A loss of meta-narratives and a focus on smaller ones;
- A belief that reality is unfinished, in process, and a matter of on-going creation;
- A turn to the subject;
- A more clear-eyed awareness of evil and suffering;
- A heightened awareness of the interconnectedness of humanity and all creation;
- A renewed and heightened awareness of history;
- A deeper appreciation for the sources of the Christian tradition and their role in contemporary life.
That shift challenged him to see the world and “the holy commonwealth of contemplation” as sacred space. In doing so he anticipated Karl Rahner’s description of the future: “The Christian will be a mystic or will not exist at all.”
JENNINGS Susanne read theology at the University of Cambridge and previously worked for the Diocese of East Anglia in a role that included responsibility for adult religious education and interfaith work. She currently works part-time as subject librarian at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, where she combines teaching, scholarship, and outreach, focusing on Jews, Christians and Muslims, to encourage tolerance and foster understanding between people of all beliefs. She has written on Thomas Merton’s engagement with Jewish and Islamic figures. Currently, she acts as a tutor in theology and religious studies and English literature and has taught introductory day schools on Judaism and the Abrahamic faiths.
“Time Unbound? Thomas Merton’s Engagement with Islam”
“If I affirm myself as a Catholic by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist etc, in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic and certainly no breath in the Spirit to affirm it.” (CGB, pp 128-129)
Thomas Merton’s progression from nominal Anglican to Catholic convert manifested an intensity of religious engagement that eventually led him to commit himself to the vowed life of a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani deep within the Kentucky countryside. Merton’s life was one of contradictions with perhaps none more marked than his gradual shift from triumphalist Catholic to initiator/receptor of interfaith dialogue. A person of his time and yet not bound by time, he was profoundly troubled by the Holocaust, the dropping of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the “rationale” of preparing for nuclear war, the racial violence that precipitated the Civil Rights Movement, and the atrocities committed during the Vietnam War. Merton’s realisation that there was, in fact, nothing that separated him from human beings everywhere may be perceived as a counter to the divisions between people of all religious persuasions. While the markers may have changed, the hatred that fueled religious and political conflict has perdured. There is relevance in all of Merton’s encounters with those of other faith traditions but this paper will focus on his interaction with Islam, which, it may be argued, is of particular interest for our present age. With this in mind, I wish to explore what the key components of Merton’s Christian-Muslim encounters were comprised of in an effort to ascertain whether there is a template here that can be adapted for the 21st century. What were the strengths of Merton’s engagement with Islam through individuals and through his extensive reading and study? And equally, what were the demerits? Ultimately, what can we draw from both the strengths and weaknesses of his example in our post 9/11 world that may ultimately act as a bridge to foster peace, reconciliation and mutual understanding?
KING Judith is a primarily a seeker who also works as a group facilitator mostly with religious congregations internationally. She is a psychotherapist with a practice in Bray, County Wicklow, (25km from Dublin, Ireland) and in addition acts as a spiritual director in a master’s degree in applied spirituality programme in Dublin. She lectures separately on a four-year MSc programme for trainee psychotherapists and is herself a student at this time pursuing a master’s degree in theology at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. (SW Ireland).
Paper No. 1:
Thomas Merton, Woods Mystic, Gethsemani, Gabrielle Roth, Urban Shaman, New York, in Conversation.
This presentation facilitates a hypothetical conversation between Thomas Merton and Gabrielle Roth, who may represent something of an archetypal masculine and feminine seeker for the 21st century. These two ordinary people have left us an extraordinary legacy out of the fullness of their “fiat” to the emissaries of God encountered on life’s path. With the use of excerpts from their creative work, the ensuing conversation touches upon their personal transfigurative moments, their thirst for God, their artistic work, and their spiritual practice. Using photographs, dialogue, movement, and a few verses from the Psalms, this presentation suggests that these two would have enjoyed one another’s company, were kindred spirits, although a generation apart, and may have even challenged each other to further growth and expansion.
Paper No. 2
‘Developing our Contemplative Identity’ – as Inspired by Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton rejected the idea of proposing learning methods or using techniques of contemplation. Instead he believed that contemplation was an eternal identity we gradually grew into, rather than something to be attained or mastered. Nonetheless, this presentation invites us to take two of Merton’s great loves, his love of nature and his love of photography, and engage with them as catalysts for further development of our own contemplative identity. Participants will be led in two experiential opportunities, alone and in small groups. Firstly, participants will consider the earth—the natural world—as the primary monastery, the first revelation. Then participants will be invited to explore photographic images and reflect upon them as a kind of “text” for visio divina, if you will.
MARTIN David is twice winner of the Lawrence R. Klein Award for the best Monthly Labor Review article by an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A holder of a Ph.D. in economics, he was a co-founder of the North Carolina Veterans for Peace while in graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1968-1972.
What We Know about Thomas Merton’s Death
Since the publication of his authorized biography in 1984, The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, Michael Mott’s explanation of how Merton died has been treated as the standard reference. Yet his conclusions are highly equivocal. “What seems like the most likely reconstruction,” he writes, “is that Merton came out of the shower either wearing a pair of drawers or naked.” Hardly anything could be less likely than that one would emerge from a shower in a pair of shorts, but Mott was probably forced to introduce that possibility out of fear that the death scene photograph—which we were able to locate, along with a companion photo—showing Merton in his shorts might become public. He takes further insurance against that possibility by falsely stating that the photograph was taken after the scene had been disturbed. That is only the beginning of the disingenuousness of Mott’s “most likely reconstruction.”
McNALLY CROSS Sam is a priest in the Church of England, and vicar of St. Thomas Church in the deanery of Kensington in the Diocese of London. His undergraduate studies focused on pilgrimage and the importance of place. Further studies saw completion of an MA in Christian spirituality though Heythrop College, London, awarded for his thesis on Thomas Merton. He is a Benedictine oblate at Alton Abbey, Hampshire.
For the Subjective Life to Flourish it Must Be Rooted in the Objective Life of the Church – An Examination through Merton’s Writings.
In an age that is increasingly centered upon the self and an idolatrous ideology that self is the most significant aspect of life, a commercialization of spirituality has led to a picking and choosing of spiritual disciplines, a magpie spirituality that chooses the best parts of liturgy and ritual in the pursuit of a self-fulfilling “Christianity” while watering down the less appealing aspects of life within the Church (such as doctrinal non-negotiables and discipline). Before his premature death, Merton had clearly seen (and felt) this approaching development (regression may be more accurate) arguably taking root in the 1960s cultural shifts, and his writing rails against it. An examination of his diary and journal writings and the set-piece texts he wrote shows that he has produced a coherent theology of the importance of rhythm and routine in the sustaining of a subjective contemplative prayer life. Although he writes from the specific context of his life as a cloistered monastic and, latterly, hermit, his words speak not just to priests and clergy but to the laity as the church strives to recapture its place as a school of spirituality in an age increasingly seeking “something.”
MICHEL Jean (1951) studied law, as well as political philosophy and comparative religious studies. He has held various positions in the social-legal sphere, now studying European spirituality at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo. His forthcoming PhD thesis is on the common ground of mysticism and phenomenology.
A missing link in the works of Thomas Merton
We know Thomas Merton from his diary The Seven Storey Mountain, in which Merton describes his youth and the road that led him to his calling.
We are also familiar with accessible yet erudite studies such as Seeds of Contemplation, Bread in the Wilderness, Contemplative Prayer, and Zen and the Birds of Appetite, in which Merton shares with us his way as an involved Christian monk with a clear insight into the contemplative essence of our human condition.
But do we know Thomas Merton the man, in whom we perceive a trace of God? And can that trace be found in intellectual and spiritual reflections on the top of a seven storey mountain, or do we rather sense him in the shrubbery at the foot of the mountain, in the sadness and banality of Merton’s day-to-day life?
Could it be, upon reflection on these bare details, partly disclosed by Thomas Merton himself, that we discover that this shrubbery is in fact the ideal place to discover the contemplative kernel of our own human condition?
In this lecture, we will begin to uncover the relationship between the contemplative essence of the human condition and the course of life in which this essence makes its presence known as does a stone in one’s shoe, as we make our way day by day over the rough terrain at the foot of the mountain.
It is precisely this discomfort that leads us closer to Thomas Merton and to that sparkling trace of God within him than we could ever have imagined.
MONTALDO Jonathan has edited many volumes of Merton’s work including The Intimate Merton, A Year with Thomas Merton, Dialogues with Silence, and Choosing to Love the World. He created a ten-booklet series for small group dialogue, Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton.
A Legacy of Confession and Witness: Thomas Merton’s Christian, Monastic, and Personalist Philosophy
In a note to himself dated April 14, 1966, Thomas Merton isolated his best writing into a category of “confession and witness” as opposed to writing that he judged was “authoritarian, a declaration of musts, and the announcement of punishments.” He realized that he had become a Christian philosopher for whom writing was “a way of life.” His autobiographical writing functioned ascetically as spiritual exercises by which he fulfilled a vocation to public self-disclosure that was, he believed, “demanded of [him] by the Holy Ghost.” By writing out his lived philosophy artfully, he meant to assist the spiritual formation of his reader. Exposing privileged moments of grace in his life’s journey was consciously missionary. His courage to write of God’s mercy in his most personal life’s experiences is a witness to his “compassionate transparency.” His 1966 note to himself was prescient in judging that his autobiographical writing might prove to be the most valuable aspect of his legacy for future generations.
PARK Jaechan Anselmo OSB from Waegwan Abbey in South Korea is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto and has recently finished his dissertation on Thomas Merton and inter-monastic dialogue.
Thomas Merton’s Encounter with Buddhism and Beyond: His Inter-Monastic and Contemplative Dialogue
Through the lens of Zen, Thomas Merton saw the value and possibility of “contemplative dialogue” between monastics and contemplatives of different religious traditions, those men and women who look primarily to a transformation of human consciousness and a spiritual awakening from within their respective traditions. He hoped that through contemplative dialogue, monastics would strive for “intermonastic communion” and a bonding of the broader “spiritual family” and thus become witnesses of the fundamental unity of humanity to a world that was becoming ever more materialistic and divided. This paper explores Merton’s role as a pioneer of Buddhist-Christian dialogue, his inter-monastic/contemplative dialogue, and his legacy by 1) exploring his encounter with Buddhists and his pioneering engagements in Buddhist-Christian dialogue; 2) studying his inter-monastic exchanges with Buddhists at the level of contemplative dialogue; and 3) presenting the ways in which Merton’s pioneering legacy continues in the ongoing Gethsemani Encounters and monastic exchange programs as well as in intra-religious dialogue in an Asian monastic context.
PEARSON Paul M. is director and archivist of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, resident secretary of the ITMS, and chief of research for the Merton Legacy Trust. He edited Seeking Paradise: Thomas Merton and the Shakers (Orbis 2003); A Meeting of Angels: The Correspondence of Thomas Merton with Edward Deming and Faith Andrews (Broadstone 2008); and Thomas Merton on Christian Contemplation (New Directions, 2012).
Emblems for a Season of Fury: The Art of Thomas Merton.
The child of artistic, pacifist parents, Thomas Merton expressed himself throughout his life in various mediums – prose, poetry, drawings, and photographs. His early monastic writings and artwork were conservative, but as his self-confidence in his vocation changed, and as he discovered a deeper and broader understanding of God arrived at through his solitude, so his self-expression through his writings and artwork changed. Merton’s response to the period of the Cold War and the social upheaval of the sixties is familiar to readers through his prose. This presentation will explore Merton’s experimentations with drawing and photography in the sixties, exploring them as a response to the Cold War and the social upheaval of the period. As Merton wrote in Disputed Questions:
The art of our time, sacred art included, will necessarily be characterized by a certain poverty, grimness and roughness which correspond to the violent realities of a cruel age.
POKS PhD Małgorzata is assistant professor in the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia, Poland. Her main interests concern spirituality, civil disobedience, Christian anarchism, contemporary U.S. literature, Thomas Merton’s poetry, U.S.-Mexican border writing, and animal and environmental studies. She is a recipient of several international fellowships and has published widely in Poland and abroad. Her monograph Thomas Merton and Latin America: A Consonance of Voices was awarded “the Louie” by the International Thomas Merton Society.
Dismantling the Rule of the Father: Prophecy and Renewal in The Geography of Lograire
This paper engages in a critical reading of patriarchy in Merton’s late epic poem The Geography of Lograire (published in 1969). The analysis attends to the ways in which Merton problematizes the origin and sustenance of patriarchy as a knowledge-construction that legitimizes the oppression and elimination of various “others.” Although the poem’s speaker, constructed by the cultural and semantic codes of the West, cannot avoid being implicated in the system of hegemony he tries to dismantle, he situates himself on the side of the excluded and oppressed, victims of enlightened, modern utopias. Still, within the troubled world of Lograire and interwoven with episodes of violence, there are occasional and unexpected interventions of a different, non-patriarchal order—one based on gentleness and compassion, gratuitous forgiveness, solidarity in suffering, and pardon for the killer. In the course of analysis, Lograire unfolds a discreet vision of a new world, a future im/possible, which is radically in keeping with the Sermon on the Mount, therefore more theo-poetic than theo-logical.
Keywords: violence, patriarchy, theopoetics, mercy, forgiveness, gift, oppression, slavery, Abraham, Cain and Abel, lamb, filicide.
QUARTIER Prof. Dr. Thomas OSB (1972) is a monk of St. Willibrord Abbey in Doetinchem (NL). He teaches ritual and liturgical studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen and holds the chair for monastic studies at the Catholic University Leuven (BE). He is a research fellow of Titus Brandsma Institute (NL), guest professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo, and co-editor-in-chief of De Kovel, the monastic journal for the Low Countries. Email: T.Quartier@ftr.ru.nl
Contemplation: Performance and Engagement
Thomas Merton’s Writings as Prophetic Voice for Pacifism
Writing can be an act of contemplation. Pacifism can be a fruit of contemplation. Contemplation needs to be performed by concrete practices. It needs to result in prophetic utterances of societal engagement. These sentences express in a nutshell the unique embodiment of an engaged contemplative form of life by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton OCSO (1915-1968). Walking his own inner journey with many ups and downs and great authenticity, Merton was called to share his lifelong search for contemplation in his books, diaries, and letters. Writing did not mean a sidewalk for him, but belonged to his way of walking the inward path. With the intuition he found in his cell, where he searched for God in many ways, he was also called to share his strong engagement with the world and raise his voice against discrimination, war, and violence. From his inner contemplative inspiration, the hermit was able to change the world actively. In this paper, we will analyze the performative and engaged dimensions of contemplation in Merton’s life and work, relying on selected writings and reflections from monastic theology and performance studies. First, we will look at his growth in the contemplative life as reflected on in his early writings [The Seven Storey Mountain; his journals]. Second, we analyze the specific characteristics of contemplation within contemporary culture [Contemplation in a World of Action; No Man is an Island] Third, we take a closer look at Merton’s pacifist engagement [Signs of Peace; his letters]. Finally, we will reflect on the prophetic voice of monasticism in our days: performative and engaged ways of contemplative life.
RENZINI Maurizio – Presidente dell’Associazione Thomas Merton Italia e studioso dello scrittore trappista americano.
Thomas Merton on The Pasternak Affair
Spiritual Freedom and the Sacredness of Life
The brief but intense correspondence that Thomas Merton established with Boris Pasternak reveals a profound existential friendship, a sentiment that deepened after he read Doctor Zhivago, the novel that, together with other writings, led to the awarding of the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature to the Russian writer. The Soviet Union, above all its ruling class, reacted with strong disapproval, considering Pasternak’s masterpiece an expression of bourgeois individualism and saw in the prestigious award a challenge by Western capitalism to the ideals of the Revolution. The author was compelled to refuse the prize and had to endure isolation, even by many members of the writers’ association of his own country.
Merton responded to the incident in two 1959 essays, brought together in The Pasternak Affair, where he notes the non-political character of this work, which, he argues, is irrelevant to the disputes between East and West and basically aims to value the human person by placing him above the collective. His is an existential and spiritual view of the world that transcends ideological tenets and stands in contrast to a materialistic social structure dominated by power. Zhivago means “Life,” and life is the protagonist of the novel, embodied in two characters (Juri and Lara) who are symbolic inhabitants of an Eden surrounded by conflict and evil and in which the woman takes on a Sophian nature. Love and life coexist, and together they provide the prevailing theme. Even though Pasternak develops this theme in a basic and mostly indirect way, the novel is pervaded by a Christian view of the world, and “life in Christ” nourishes the creative strength of love. Aware of the vacuity of useless words about progress and peace, Pasternak emphasizes the yearning of men and women for true freedom, that of the Spirit, which was strangled behind the Iron Curtain as well as in the West. Thus, he places himself as the defender of creativity and liberty in an alienated society.
RIPPINGER Joel OSB, a monk of Marmion Abbey, Aurora, Illinos (USA), where he is formation director in his community. He has written extensively on monastic history and spirituality.
Discovering the Authentic Voice of Merton: the Journals and Personal Correspondence
Merton’s contribution in engaging prophetic elements of monasticism was singular in many ways. As a monk of Gethsemani, he was often at odds with the work of his own community and of the Cistercian Order. His predilection for solitary life over a cenobitic witness became clearer over his years as a monk, culminating in his receiving permission to become a hermit.
Merton’s voice was distinct. He was at core a writer and a critic of established institutions. He was one of the few voices in the period of monastic renewal in the 1960s and 1970s who spoke to the concerns of the young and the middle-aged, the lay person and the non-Catholic.
Merton was also a person enmeshed in contradictions. He was the solitary who needed to be connected to a global network of correspondents. He was a lover of monastic tradition who became at the end of his life a monastic maverick in his own community and in the wider Benedictine world.
Given these diverse elements, I would attempt to spell out just how large an impact Merton left on generations of believers after his death. The key to understanding Merton, from my perspective, is the writing of his private journals. The ambiguities and contradictions, his spiritual journey of honest self-assessment and personal failings, are captured best in his Journals. They explain most compellingly how he continues to be for us both a prophetic voice and a contemporary signpost for any true monastic renewal.
SANTASILIA Dr. Stefano is associate professor at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí – México
True Self as Real Self
We may easily discuss whether Merton’s way of thinking belongs to the history of philosophy or not. He certainly is not, nor did he ever pretend to be, a philosopher,. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that his ideas about subjectivity are nourished by same issues as those addressed by 20th century philosophers. While the link between Merton’s mystical reflections and Maritain’s philosophical approach has been analyzed in several works dealing with the True Self and the False Self, we should note that the influence exerted by Buber’s remarks on Merton’s anthropological view has not yet been deeply examined. In both my graduate thesis (entitled “Mistica ed etica in Thomas Merton,” a copy of which is kept at the ITMS library) and in a short essay published in Italy (“L’uomo oltre l’uomo. La questione del soggetto in Thomas Merton”) I tried to demonstrate that the interpretation of Maritain’s influence upon Merton is wrong as well as incomplete. From a reading of Seeds of Contemplation and The Inner Experience, we understand how Merton’s idea of Ego is rooted in two fundamental dimensions of the human being: the TRUE and the FALSE self. In his work Mystics and Zen Masters, Merton underlines the importance of Buber’s reflections, stating that the Jewish philosopher taught us the real meaning of the I-Thou relation, a basic concept of Buber’s thought. Merton recognizes in this relation an essential element of the mystical life, which gives us the chance truly to know ourselves as well as the ego of anyone else. More, according to Buber’s reflections upon the I-Thou connection, Merton uses this concept to indicate the relation with God that is rooted in the deepest part of ourselves. On the basis of such considerations, I think it would be important as well as interesting to analyze the full influence of Buber and Marcel on Merton. Furthermore, we cannot help noting that both Buber and Marcel devoted considerable attention to the study of mystical experience: Buber carried out his ideas within the field of Chassidim while Marcel did so within the purview of Catholicism. All the more reason for analyzing their approach within the growth and development of Thomas Merton’s reflections.
SAWICKI OSB Bernard Łukasz is a researcher in the field of spirituality and monasticism, particularly in reference to culture and art. He has been coordinator of the Monastic Institute at the faculty of theology in the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo since 2014
Was Thomas Merton a Celebrity?
Some Observations about the Presence of Monks in Modern Society
From their very beginning, monks have had to live with the tension between their preference for the hidden life and the vast extent of their presence in the society. In the present time of a global network of information, the hidden life, distant from the world, seems to be a challenge if not a utopia. Today, in addition to being sought out by tourists and pilgrims, monks are expected to be present in traditional and modern social media. Otherwise, or so it seems, their message for society will not be transmitted and, presumably, they will have problems finding vocations. Thomas Merton was the first monk who, while remaining in his monastery, gained worldwide fame through his presence in the public domain by means of his writing. In this way he was a great promoter of monastic life and helped to fill many monasteries—not only in his own country. However, the tensions and contradictions between being known and hidden in Christ also left a profound mark on his life. A strong public presence of a monk is evidently contrary to the core tradition of monasticism. Therefore Merton’s case may inspire reflection about the possibilities and limits of the public presence of monks in modern society where, practically speaking, the only way to transmit successfully spiritual values is to become a “celebrity,” a person known from his/her presence in public media. Can Merton be regarded as an example for modern monks, or should he rather be seen as a warning?
SERRÁN-PAGÁN Y FUENTES Cristóbal is an associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at Valdosta State University (Valdosta, Georgia). He is the editor of Merton and the Tao: Dialogues with John Wu and the Ancient Sages (Fons Vitae).
Engaged Spirituality in Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh:
An Inter-Monastic Dialogue on Contemplation and Prophetic Action
Thomas Merton’s interfaith dialogue with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh sets a resonating example on how two monks from different religious traditions can learn from each other and respect their differences while they find common ground. The Christian-Buddhist engaged model of spirituality that Merton and Nhat Hanh employ encompasses both the life of contemplation (archetypical Mary) and the life of action (archetypical Martha). The purpose of this study is to show how both Merton and Nhat Hanh found the right balance for living a contemplative life and at the same time for responding to the most pressing and urgent issues of our times, as modern prophets and bodhisattvas will do. Through their differing contemplative paths, Merton and Nhat Hanh have become exemplary models of interreligious dialogue and witnesses for global peace. Both monks exemplify the necessity to establish strong spiritual bonds of affection and a sense of community through fostering inter-monastic dialogue and international cooperation. The contemplative-prophetic messages of Merton and Nhat Hanh can help identify the root causes of our contemporary problems by asking the right questions and by extending their love and compassion to all sentient and non-sentient beings in the universe. Their life testimonies give witness to the rich spiritual legacy left behind by these two universal monks.
SIMPSON Dr. Bill is emeritus faculty in the department of philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver (Colorado). His research interests include ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, philosophy of mind, and jurisprudence.
John Cassian as Critical Theorist: Discretion and False Consciousness in Merton’s Bangkok Lecture
Thomas Merton often liked to pair ancient and modern ideas and seek out a common resonance between the two. A crucial pairing in Merton’s final lecture, “Marxism and Monastic Perspectives” (1968), is the first of John Cassian’s Conferences on the instrumental and ultimate goals of the monastic and Herbert Marcuse’s discussion of alienation in One Dimensional Man. In Marcuse, the question turns on liberating one’s mind from the ideologies put there though one’s participation in late-stage global capitalism. Cassian’s Abba Moses, on the other hand, speaks of the twofold business of the monastic: cultivation of purity of heart and seeking the Kingdom of God. Discretion is the monastic’s chief tool for achieving the first of these aims, and Cassian explicates this monastic virtue through the metaphor of an expert capable of identifying counterfeit coins. Merton finds the common thread in Cassian’s and Marcuse’s shared interest in sorting out authentic versus contrived experiences and on this basis declares Marcuse to be “a kind of monastic thinker.”
The Theology of Contemplation in Thomas Merton
Merton’s reflection on contemplation is linked to the stages of St. Teresa’s prayer and to the techniques of oriental meditation. This intervention seeks to place oriental meditation, especially the relation between Zen Buddhism and Christian mystical theology that he wrote about in his letters to Suzuki.
In particular, moving from The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation, the theme of the relationship between infused and acquired contemplation and that between nature and supernatural will be explored. The goal is to understand the nature of non-Christian contemplative experience and whether it is necessary to go beyond Thomistic language in speaking of it.
ZANINELLIi Mario has edited many volumes of Merton’s work, including the Italian translation of Contemplation in a World of Action (3 volumes) and La solitudine dell’eremo. Thomas Merton e i Camaldolesi. Zaninelli also teaches physical education in an Italian school and has published several books about basketball players. His most recent is L’ultimo dei miei eroi, a biography of Giuseppe Brumatti.
The correspondence of Jean Leclercq and Thomas Merton
Like Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Merton found in the monastic life of prayer a source of strength, empathy, and understanding. It was after he developed a concern for the authenticity of monastic life and worked for monastic renewal within his community and the Cistercian order that he contributed to the renewal of society by witnessing to that peace and justice that favor human holiness and happiness. Rightly to understand Merton, one must first know him as a prophet of monastic renewal.
The correspondence between Thomas Merton and Jacques Leclercq, which lasted for nearly twenty years, went beyond discussion of early monastic texts to take up the main questions of the monk in the modern world. The question, What is a monk?, is at the center of their exchange, and in these letters, they address it with a great composure. They were certainly motivated by Vatican II, but they had been spiritual seekers from the beginning of their monastic lives.
“The vocation of the monk in the modern world is not survival but prophecy.” This unforgettable line, from the last letter of Merton to Leclercq, is also a sign of their friendship, which was not simply a matter of survival, but a prophetic sign if monasticism was to flourish in the years ahead.
ZUIDEMA Jason (Ph.D., McGill University) serves as the executive director of the ecumenical North American Maritime Ministry Association. He is currently enrolled in the Monastic Institute of the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo, writing his STD dissertation on the intersection of monasticism and Protestantism.
Thomas Merton as Prophet for Protestant Religious Life
Thomas Merton is remembered as a generous dialogue partner with Protestants and those of other faiths. Yet, a close reading of The Seven Story Mountain reveals that he was also critical of the misdirected nature of the Protestant faith of his youth. Indeed, it would be hard to understand the profound nature of his conversion to Catholicism and the monastic life without understanding his perspective on the weaknesses inherent in his Protestant heritage. Curiously, as Merton continued to write, his critique and questioning of Protestantism would
actually inspire many Protestants to explore their own tradition more deeply, giving special attention to the possibilities of the religious life within Protestantism. This paper explores Merton’s thoughts on the Protestant tradition as he expressed them in his spiritual autobiography, his key interactions with Protestants during his life as a monk, and his legacy among Protestants since his passing. In particular, we argue that Merton’s legacy among Protestants has been their fostering of the exploration of religious life and their attempts to practice it.